The Power Pause

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Shopping Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

I’m a person drawn to action and motion.  I am not a naturally reflective person, and any patience I have has been hard won, not genetically given.

So for me to take time to pause has been a learned strategy.  My tendency to propel myself into motion is one of my greatest strengths and gifts to the world – and it can also be the thing that trips me up.

Experience has taught me that pausing pays dividends.  If I just can wait a moment, and then another – something will shift, a new insight will emerge, a more positive feeling state will arrive, and a better course of action will reveal itself.

I have used the power of pausing in many spheres of my life, not just in my shopping life.  I keep returning to it because I have found enormous value in it, the outcomes are always better, whether that’s in relationship terms or emotional and financial terms.

I use the power pause a lot in shopping contexts – I’ll share with you what it is and how to use in next. In fact, I use it every single time I see something I (think I) want to buy.

the power of pausing

The Power Pause

The Power Pause is this:  when you see something you desire and might want to buy – don’t purchase it straight away.

Put it back where you found it for just now. Walk away for at least two hours, if not 2 days, before deciding and making the purchase.

If you like, you can write down a brief description of the item and where it was located (what store/section, etc).

If, a day or two later, you find that the desired item meets all the criteria for a working wardrobe purchase, and you still want it –  then you should feel free to go back and purchase it.

You may, alternatively, find that you have forgotten all about it or your desire for it has simmered down to almost nothing.

Note here that the purpose of the power pause is for you to re-evaluate the item and have it find its proper place in your wardrobe and life – which might end up meaning that it HAS no place in your wardrobe or your life.

The purpose of the power pause is most definitely not to beat your desire for this item into a frenzy. There is a big difference between re-evaluating/letting something ‘sit’ and fanning the flames.  If your emotions are what’s swaying you (“I have to have it!”), then leave the decision to buy for even longer.  Why?

You don’t want to buy based on raw, fuelled emotion, that’s why.  Purchases made that way are ones that feed your shopping-as-default-activity habit, that leave you feeling bad about what you bought.  Those kinds of purchases add to the over-stocked yet grossly under-utilised wardrobe where you lament: “Look at all these clothes – how can I have nothing to wear!?”

If you have had (or are still having) an issue with shopping, you need to shift how you shop.  You need to learn to shop consciously and break the hold that your unconscious shopping habits have over you.  Perhaps find something else to do in this moment besides shopping (here’s 365 ideas to inspire your life, instead of shopping)

The Power Pause breaks the cycle of mindless shopping.  It wakes us up to “trinket thinking” and gives us a chance to put shopping in its rightful place.  It gives us a true choice in how we spend our precious time and considerable talents.

If you want to explore becoming a more conscious consumer, then join us today on the 12 month Shop Your Wardrobe program.  You can learn about the 12 month online program here, and sign up here!


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    11 Responses to “The Power Pause”

    1. ije says:

      Hi Jill,
      So sorry to hear about your friend and glad you took some time to soak it all in.

      I love what you share here about the power pause and have been using this with info product purchasing. I’ve found giving myself a week to really digest whether a course or a coach is the right fit for me has been a challenging but rewarding practice. I actually have a post outlined about conscious info product purchasing. Your piece is inspiring to finish it up. Hope you and your friend are well:-)

      • Jill says:

        hey Ije – thanks for kind words about my friend, really appreciate them. I’d love to see your post about conscious info product purchasing when it’s finished – come back and let us know about it. The Power Pause idea can be applied to almost any shopping or commercial situation with great effect. Just this morning, my husband and I went to the local markets where lots of beautiful local produce and handmade goodies are sold. I admired over $200 worth of lovely things that I proceeded to “power pause” – and I didn’t return for any of them. It’s amazing how simple and yet how effective it is.

    2. Stacey says:

      Hi Jill!

      I’m also so sorry to hear about your friend and I’m so glad that you took time to rest and reflect after the trauma.

      Your post today really resonates because the same process that helps you make sense of a tragedy can also help you in a shopping situation when your cerebral cortex seems to overwhelm you with unhelpful messages.

      I will definitely put the “power pause” into effect the next time I have that “gotta have it” feeling.

      And, Ije, I can’t wait to read your blog post! Choosing to buy or not to buy info products and online coaching programs cause me more anguish (“Maybe this one will be the magic bullet to boost my business!!”) than designer clothing. 🙂

      Thanks again, Jill, for this thoughtful and thought-provoking post – and Ije, for continuing the conversation!

      • Jill says:

        thanks Stacey for dropping by and sharing with us… I’m with you on Ije’s post – so fingers crossed she shares the link with us when that post is published. Yes, please use the Power Pause anytme the emotional drivers to purchase are particularly strong… if a voice is saying “you absolutely gotta have it!!”, it’s either the store clerk who’s also a ventriliquest (so get out the store as fast as you can) or it’s the voice of unreason inside your head that needs some cooling off time.

    3. Julia says:

      I’m very sorry to hear about that horrific accident. My heart goes out to that entire family.

      I don’t have issues with clothing-shopping, although I had issues until sometime last year with hanging onto things for entirely too long (after you’d started the blog, but before I found it), and am still in the late stages of clearing the unwanted stuff out of my closet. (I make a push, get stuff DONE, then Life happens, and nothing is accomplished for 2 weeks or more.) It’s
      amazing, when all the stuff that doesn’t fit or doesn’t flatter is gone, it’s so much easier to find a reasonable outfit in there!

      But I’ve had problems with other sorts of shopping, and I’ve been using your strategy for awhile. For some things, I won’t buy it unless I’ve wanted it for 3 months or longer and it’s now on sale, or wanted it for 4 months or longer, period; my most recent “wanting it for awhile” purchase was something I’d noticed before Christmas last year, and finally bought Friday evening. (I figure if it’s under $10, doesn’t take up much space and I still want it after 6 months of considering it, it’s not an unreasonable purchase.)

      Before I adopted that strategy, I was making impulse purchases several times a week, and often those were completely unnecessary items. (How many different patterns of rubber duck does one household need?) Now, even if I see the perfect item to fulfill a need I know I have, I will wait at least a couple of days before actually purchasing it.

      I’ve also learned that, while some things will disappear forever from the store shelves just before I’m ready to actually purchase them, many of the things that disappear are items the store considers to be seasonal items, and if I just wait long enough, they’ll be there again. (Witness the waited-for-it-for-awhile purchase in April of something I’d seen in July and decided to purchase in September, only to be unable to find it then! And I didn’t realize that egg carriers for deviled eggs were seasonal until I tried looking for them, starting in October, with the intent of giving them to a couple of people as Christmas presents, and found them with Easter merchandise in the spring.)

      Thank you for this post confirming that my strategy is a reasonable one. 🙂

      • Jill says:

        hey Julia – welcome! Great to see your comment here. I am so with you about clearing out the stuff from your wardrobe that isn’t working anymore — it creates an amazing space of possibilities from what is left. (I also hear you about how Life gets in the way sometimes with the clearing out project).

        Really interested to hear about you using the Power Pause with other kinds of shopping… I’m impressed with waiting 3+ months for a desired item — now that’s what I call a Double Shot Power Pause! I can so relate to bringing home unnecessary items (and I’m sure many of our Shop Your Wardrobe members can too). I have a beautiful animal print rubber duck, which seemed a necessary purchase at the time – but one is probably more than enough for one household.

        So, yes indeed the Power Pause (whatever you call it) is a reasonable strategy — one of the most effective I have ever found, as a self proclaimed reformed shopaholic. And Julia – thanks again for stopping by and commenting here – hope to see you again in the future.

        • Julia says:

          I read through the entire “Year without clothes shopping” blog when it was pointed out to me at the beginning of this year, and I’m getting e-mail updates of new blog entries — so if something resonates well enough with me, you’ll be getting more comments. 🙂

    4. emelie rota says:

      jill – i am still at a loss for words to adequately describe my empathy for your friend. i hope that her recovery continues as the days go on.

      i continually think of you as i navigate my month of shop-fasting. i still notice pangs of temptation when i happen across something i’ve wanted for a long time, or something that all of a sudden seems like a must-have.

      but if i cannot make the purchase out in the open (ie tell my husband about it) or if i feel guilty for wanting that (blank), then i know that i need to move on, leave the temptation to go to a quieter place, and focus my attention on more important matters.

      i was able to make a significant investment in my business this month, which i would never have before been able to do if i continued with my shopping habits…

      1) my husband would have seen that purchase as useless and wasteful just like all the others.
      2) i wouldn’t have had the money to buy it because instead, i have a beautiful new outfit that i lied about to acquire, and which i’ll eventually be rid of.
      3) instead, i invested in knowledge and strategy, which cannot be taken from me (until i’m old and forgetful).

      it feels empowered to make purchasing decisions that are aligned with every fiber of my being, for which i don’t have to apologize, and which will build my financial future.

      • Jill says:

        hi Emelie – what a great comment, thank you! I love what you shared about being able to make a significant investment in your business this month because of those reasons. And when you talk about being aligned with every fibre of your being, that’s what conscious consumption is all about – feeling good Before, During and After any purchase you decide to make. Decide. To. Make. What is so often missing, and this was certainly true for me for many years, was the decision bit. Consumption was a habit, a hobby, a default activity where all consciousness was out the window – it was auto-pilot shopping. So I applaud your awareness! And for sticking with your month long shopping detox. Good for you!

    5. tammy vitale says:

      Prayers and healing light to your friend.

      I think the Power Pause works for so many other areas of one’s life! It’s a great reminder: ready to get in an argument? Power Pause. Ready to walk away from a project? Power Pause. It’s that moment where you stop the story and step into your true knowing.

      Because I don’t do much clothes shopping (the mannequins don’t care what I wear in the studio), I often find myself in a frenzy when I do go. This post is a good reminder that any frenzy isn’t good. There will be more clothes later if I don’t get them this round!

      • Jill says:

        hi Tammy – great to see your comment here. And you are oh so right about the versatility and usefulness of theh Power Pause in many other aspects of life. Any “spiky” emotions can be helped by employing the Power Pause! And yes, I’d agree with you about shopping in a frenzy – not the ideal state in which to shop! Shopping should start long before you jump in the car and point it in the direction of the stores — I recommend getting some Good Intel first (do a wardrobe review, even if it’s a quickie), compose a list of what’s required – then you are armed and ready to go! The Power Pause then comes into play when you are “in situ” — a great strategy to keep you calm and focused when engaged in the act of shopping….

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